Last night we honored twelve supporters who have played a critical role in our efforts to alleviate hunger in Delaware this year.
“In Delaware, one of the things that we do best is working together,” said one of the night’s honorees, Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf. “Public, private and nonprofit groups sit at the same table. We listen. And then — on behalf of the people of Delaware – we get things done. It’s an honor to work with Patricia Beebe and the staff of the Food Bank of Delaware to help alleviate hunger. In the name of those at DHSS and the Food Bank who work so hard to protect vulnerable people, I accept this award.”
This year’s honorees include:
- Outstanding Achievement – Mike Castle: Castle has worked on behalf of hungry Delawareans during his days as both governor and congressman and continues to support the organization post-politics. He was responsible for making Delaware one of seven states in the nation to participate in the hot meal after-school program through the Child and Adult Care Food Program. In 2009, Castle played an integral role in helping the Food Bank receive $194,800 in federal appropriations funding for the expansion of the Milford Branch.
- Government Visionary – Secretary Rita Landgraf: Delaware Health and Social Services Cabinet Secretary Rita Landgraf has championed the Food Bank’s vision of a community free of hunger. Landgraf has enabled the food bank to open food closets in all of the state’s service centers and played an important role in the food bank’s ability to conduct Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach on behalf of the state.
- Supporter of the Year – Fred Sears, Delaware Community Foundation: Sears has played an instrumental role in the creation of the Food Bank’s Anti-Hunger Coalition. A three-year $350,000 grant from the Foundation has helped the Coalition to expand many programs and policies including the Backpack Program, the creation of a senior meal box program and increase the number of children who receive school breakfast.
- Legislative Advocate – Bill Oberle: Oberle has played a critical role heightening awareness of the issues of hunger in the state’s capital. During his times as legislator, he strategized ways to strengthen the Food Bank’s relationships in the state capital and worked to pass legislation to help Delaware families struggling to make ends meet. Upon retirement from the Legislature, Oberle volunteered to serve as the Food Bank’s pro-bono legislative advocate, fighting for issues important to Delaware’s hungry.
- Corporate Volunteer of the Year – Dupont: Close to 40 groups from Dupont visited the Food Bank last year to assist in the Newark warehouse. They sorted food, packed emergency meal boxes, packed weekend food for kids and more. In addition to volunteering, the company also supports the organization through food drives throughout the year.
- Corporate Donor of the Year – JPMorgan Chase: To date JPMorgan Chase has donated close to $470,000 to the Food Bank. Most recently, JPMorgan donated $125,000 to the Food Bank in order to start three new school pantries in the city of Wilmington. In 2010, the company awarded the Food Bank with a brand-new, state-of-the-art food delivery truck.
- Food Donor of the Year – Perdue: Since 1997 Perdue has donated 13,677,345 pounds of nutritious protein products to Delawareans struggling to put meals on the table. In addition to donating product on a very regular basis, the company also recently donated $60,000 to the capital project to expand the Milford Branch.
- Milford Branch Corporate Volunteer of the Year – Walmart: Representatives from the Milford Walmart have spent time assisting at the Milford Branch. In addition to general volunteer duties, the group also volunteered at the Food Bank’s Thanksgiving mobile pantry. Last year alone, Walmart donated more than 243,000 pounds of rescued foods through weekly pickups. Most recently, Walmart donated a brand-new, 24-foot refrigerated truck valued at $90,000 and was in addition to a $75,000 gift for the Backpack Program.
- Visionary Award – Barclays: Barclays was the first to step up to support the Food Bank’s new School Pantry Program in November 2011. Last July Barclays sponsored a mobile pantry in downtown Wilmington and served more than 250 families. Volunteers from the organization spend time at the Newark warehouse on a regular basis and conduct food drives throughout the year.
- Milford Branch Group Volunteer of the Year – KSI: Approximately 50 volunteers from KSI visit the Food Bank’s Milford Branch each week. The group spends the morning cleaning coolers for the After-School and Summer Nutrition Programs and also packs coolers filled with sandwiches and beverages for children at risk of hunger.
- Newark Group Volunteer of the Year – Red Clay Creek Presbyterian Church: Red Clay Creek provides church members the opportunity to volunteer both during the day and evening. They sort food, make emergency meal boxes, stock shelves and more. Since 2000 the church has donated more than $44,000.
- Individual Volunteer of the Year – Ron Lawrence: Lawrence volunteers at the Milford Branch on a weekly basis and serves as a lead volunteer assisting with the training of other volunteers. He leads the packing of after-school meals for children in need. Lawrence is described as dedicated and loyal by the Milford Volunteer Coordinator.